Possible oil exploration deal still leaves more questions than answers

HARGEISA— Somaliland Mining and Energy Minister Dr. Hussein Ahmed Du’ale recently spoke to SomalilandPress reporter Shiine Elmi Kahin concerning possible oil deals that the Government of Somaliland is considering entering into with foreign oil companies.

Firstly, the Minister gave lengthy explanation on the oil deals that his ministry signed with foreign firms and he told our reporter they entered an agreement with British company by the name of Ophir Energy.

He firmly denied reports published by the local press claiming in the oil deal that Somaliland will receive 2.5%. He claimed it’s been wrongly misinterpreted and it was totally baseless. “The thing is the license and the interest for the firm and the British firm is working with RAKGAS which has its share and both will receive about 75 percent. Therefore RAKGAS will earn 25 percent,” he said. He made clear that the British oil company Ophir Energy starts exploration on the ground and engineers from the firm are due to arrive in the country shortly. The Minister mentioned that the exploration survey will last for thirteen months and once it comes to an end, oil production begins in the country. He said that the profit from the oil production agreement that the government of Somaliland signed with foreign firms will be equally shared.
The minister was asked about why the Government had not drawn up a new Act of Oil and Mining (the existing one dating back to the time of the Said Barre regime). He stated that that process was underway and that they were seeking assistance in this regard from the Norwegian Government. It is hoped that the said Act will be put before the Council of Somaliland Ministers and Parliament in the near future.

In the interview, the minister was asked questions concerning different issues and he told that his ministry is in charge of an enormous portfolio including of water, minerals and energy. He stated that the Ministry was trying to tackle on-going shortages and increase water production by setting up ten water wells at Xumboweyne and Jaleel districts which are located on the North east of Hargeisa. The Minister once asked about carrying out his ministry’s strategy to find lasting solution to the water scarcity in the country’s main urban areas, he responded that this issue worries him the most and he expects to bring it to an end. At the beginning of this year, the General Manager of Hargeisa Water Agency and I went to Kenya’s capital of Nairobi and we met there with International donors and we put forward the water shortage that the country is confronted with.The minister said that the EU responded to our appeal and pledged to provide 5 per cent of the budget allocated to water supplies in Hargeisa and assured that the fund will be available soon. The minister added that if we got 50 per cent, we plan that the public as well as the government will the take the brunt of raising the rest.

Courtesy: Somalilandpress